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Grieving Paradise mother finds strength by writing social media blog – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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PARADISE, N.L. —

Pam Myles’ home looks as inviting as her greeting when she answers the door.

“Come in,” she says, with a warm smile.

“Don’t mind the mess,” she adds, as she walks into her living room, where a baby Exersaucer and a handful of toys rest on top of a section of colourful children’s foam floor tiles.

Other than the faint lull from the television, there’s little sound in the house as her six-month-old son, Lukas, naps in his room at the other end of the house.

“This is the time of day that’s hardest for me,” she said.

“It’s the daytime when it’s quiet.”

Normally, there would be an energetic young boy running around, likely wearing nothing but underwear, singing “Wheels on the Bus,” and climbing on a chair insisting that he help his mother wash dishes or cook supper, anxious to get a butter knife to cut up mushrooms.

“Noah was a force,” Myles said, her face lighting up. “He was busy — super, super busy. I can’t exaggerate enough how busy he was. He was bright and curious.

“And loud,” she added, laughing.

She would give anything to hear those sounds again, but they’ve been silenced forever.


Noah Saja. - Rosie Mullaley
Noah Zaja. – Contributed photo

On the morning of July 18, Myles’ four-year-old son, Noah, was killed in a tragic accident when he slipped out of the house, unknown to his mother, and got too close to a closing tow-long dump trailer in front of their Paradise home.

Dealing with such a heartbreaking loss has been painfully difficult for Myles and her family, including her fiancé and Noah’s father, Marko, and daughter Avery, who celebrated her 11th birthday the day before Noah died.

“We’re doing OK,” Myles said, shrugging her shoulders and nodding her head. “OK is about as good as we can expect.

“There are no really great days, but there are lots of great things in every day.”

Not an hour goes by when she doesn’t think of Noah, and she will never erase memories of the morning he died. He had been in and out of the house, running from the playhouse in the back garden to the front garden of the house, which is nestled at the end of a quiet road in a Paradise subdivision.

When it got chilly, Myles grabbed Noah’s favourite sweater — a front zip-up, a gift from a family friend, and called him inside.

“I was putting it on him and I remember holding his face and saying to him, ‘You’re a good boy, Noah.’ That wasn’t uncommon. I told him all the time, but for some reason, in that moment, I felt the need to hold his face.

“I remember his response wasn’t like, ‘Oh, thank you.’ It was, ‘Yes, I am a good boy,’” she said, laughing.

An hour later he was gone.

“It was just so sudden,” she said. “He was just outside playing and had just been inside with us.”

“Noah Bear,” as she fondly referred to him, may not be running in and out of the house anymore, but his presence is everywhere in the home. Multiple photos of him, with his siblings, parents and friends, are placed on the walls, fireplace and side tables, his smiling face still lighting up each room.

It gives the family comfort and serves as a way of helping Lukas know his big brother, she said.

“That’s important to us,” Myles said, tearing up. “Noah was so excited about him and adored him. We plan to show Lukas (photos) and make sure he knows how special he was to Noah.”

She’s glad now she took so many pictures — her last order to Costco had 1,600 photos — and hundreds of videos of Noah since he was born.

Myles has remained fairly private since Noah’s death, but three months later feels comfortable enough to speak publicly about her experience.

Through tears, smiles and laughter, she explained that sharing her thoughts and feelings not only helps her express herself, but also helps others who have experienced similar tragedies.

Myles has started a Facebook blog, “Myles in my Shoes,” which she recently created after receiving so much response on her personal Facebook page.

In her first blog post last week, she wrote, “A popular Chinese proverb states that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I suppose this is mine. At least in such a public forum.”

She introduces herself in the blog as, “A mom of three: Avery, Noah and Lukas. I am the mother of two children I get to hold in my arms and one child I hold in my heart.”

“I’m not a writer,” said Myles, adding that her training as a child- and youth-care instructor at Eastern Academy and youth counsellor at the Janeway Children’s Hospital was helpful in managing her grief.

“It’s never something I felt I was particularly skilled at,” she says of writing.

As her eyes welled with tears, she paused before continuing. “But Noah’s life had so much meaning to us and I really wanted to try to also find some meaning in his loss.”

What she found was an overwhelming response from hundreds of people, many of whom wrote to tell her about their loss, the guilt they felt and the difficulty they felt moving on in life.

“It’s validating to me to know that other people also experience that, too.

“And they felt there was something in my message that made them feel less alone.”

Helping others has helped her heal, she said.

“Writing is helping me to piece my heart and life back together and I hope it brings some comfort to another,” she wrote.

It was also a way of saying thank you to the people across the province and country who contacted them and helped them the last three months, whether it was through fundraisers, delivered meals, or messages and well wishes.

“Somewhere in the midst of my deep pain and sorrow and darkness there was light,” she wrote in the blog.

“While I had every reason in the world to want the world to stop … to lay in my bed and lay in my grief … my two beautiful children, Marko, my friends and family and the community around us reminded me of my many reasons to be grateful — grateful for what I have, grateful for what I’ve gained and, mostly, grateful for the chance to have ever been and to be Noah’s mom.”

The community’s support is evident in the blue hearts that adorn many neighbours’ properties.

On the pavement in front of the family’s house, there’s a brightly painted smiley-faced sun and rainbow, with the words, “We love you,” care of the neighbours’ kids, Dylan and Abby.

It’s been comforting as they deal with the heartache.

In their lovely landscaped front garden, there are spots to honour Noah, from the painted rocks to a mini-memorial that includes the scooter he rode and his tiny crocks.

“Oh, he loved those crocks,” Myles said, smiling.

Noah’s grandmother, Barb Wagstaff, said the happy memories are what keeps the family going.

She remembers the pitter patter of his tiny feet going up the stairs to see his poppy, Larry Myles, the paintings for Mother’s Day and throwing grass in the pond “to feed the fish” at their cabin on Hodgewater Line. They’re memories she will cherish forever.

“There are reminders of him everywhere, like when I open the cupboard and see his favourite cereal,” Wagstaff said.

“The pain hits you in waves all the time. … I think about what he would be doing if he was here. … We value the time we had with him. He was such a blessing.”

She said she and Myles’ father feel mostly for her daughter, Marko and the children.

“As parents, you want to fix things (for your children), but we can’t fix it for her,” she said.

But Wagstaff said she admires her daughter for her strength and courage to express her feelings publicly.

“She’s been an inspiration to all of us,” Wagstaff said.

It’s been a difficult three months and it will be for many more to come as Myles deals with firsts without him and the challenges of figuring out what to say when asked how many children she has.

But for Myles, it’s her two remaining children who will get her through this the most.

“I remember Marko saying to me, no matter what happens, Lukas and Avery deserve to have the same parents they had (before Noah died),” she said.

“Not to say we won’t have time for sadness and grief, but that they deserved for us to pick up, to do things they were accustomed to. That was going to be really important.

“So, with that in mind, we get up every day and do what we need to do to be the best parents we can be for the kids.”

And in the quiet of her days, it’s that which has become loud and clear.


Rosie Mullaley is the human interest reporter for The Telegram

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Given the lack of civility, better to call it antisocial media – ObserverXtra

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Given the lack of civility, better to call it antisocial media – OBSERVER



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Accountability | The media is not the church's enemy – National Catholic Reporter

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As the U.S. bishops gathered last month for their first-ever virtual meeting, there was one thing that wasn’t all that different: Several prelates pulled out the tired trope of blaming the media for all that’s wrong with the church and the world.

During the church leaders’ brief, public discussion about the McCarrick report — concerning the former cardinal’s rise in the hierarchy despite a history of sexual assault — there was plenty of talk about sins (McCarrick’s) and fasting and prayer as reparations (the bishops’).

But Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, got right to what he saw as the crux of the matter with a defense of the person upon whom the report places most of the blame: Pope John Paul II.

“What I think is unfortunate, though, is the media reports that have come out that have tried to paint St. John Paul II as somehow culpable for all this,” Paprocki said.

The Vatican report details how the late pope and now saint, despite warnings from advisers on both sides of the Atlantic, approved then-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s move to Washington D.C., and then later made him a cardinal.

But Paprocki cited footnotes in the report that, in his mind, absolved his hero of having turned a blind eye to the fact that McCarrick shared a bed with seminarians — noting that his evidence was “contrary to the allegations in the media.”

Paprocki suggested that the media “understandably perhaps” missed those footnotes because they read only the executive summary, rather than the full 400-plus-page report.

For the record: Although Vatican correspondent Joshua McElwee’s initial reporting for NCR drew only on the executive summary, provided to media an hour before the report’s wider release, McElwee’s second-day story, which detailed John Paul II’s complicity, was based on careful reading of the entire report.

Bishop Michael Pfeifer, emeritus of San Angelo, Texas, also expressed concern that “our lay people … pick up more from the secular media than from the church.” He urged fellow bishops to issue a statement from the meeting, “humbly admitting mistakes were made,” but the conference’s president, Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, did not take him up on that idea.

Also taking a swipe at the media was the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who included the “press” as among those contributing to a “genuine crisis of authority” in his address to the conference.

“There is a lack of authority on the part of those who pretend to exercise power; a lack of trust and belief in those who are supposed to have authority, namely those in leadership; and manipulation by the press, which, at times, cares little for the truth but which erodes the confidence and trust of the people in the authority of the press,” Pierre said. “No one seems to be offering real values or solutions to bring about healing. These factors have created the crisis in both society and the church.”

It’s true that there are so-called media outlets masquerading as legitimate news organizations in the church (I’m talking to you, LifeSiteNews), but these general indictments of “the media” by bishops sadly echo a certain soon-to-be-ex-president, who specialized in yelling “Fake news!” whenever the news was bad.

The bishops, collectively at least, also have a history of blaming the media, most notably when journalists uncovered sexual abuse of children and the related coverup by bishops. At the time, the prelates hurled accusations of anti-Catholicism at reporters who were actually doing the church a favor by exposing its weaknesses.

Today, most bishops know to avoid such blatant deflection, and they publicly call for “accountability” and “transparency.” Some bishops at the November virtual meeting called for more sunshine, rather than less.

Bishop William Wack of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida, noted that he is “amazed at the autonomy we have … that we are really beholden to no one.”

While Wack called for fraternal correction among brother bishops, the media, too, can play a role in holding leadership accountable and providing transparency. It’s why the media is historically referred to as the “fourth estate” for its role in keeping government accountable. Catholic media, especially independent sources like NCR, have long played a similar role in keeping the church accountable.

For example, it was NCR and other secular media that first alerted everyday church-goers to sexual predators in the priesthood — when the leadership was more interested in quashing that information. Media stories have uncovered the coverup of sexual abuse, shed light on financial improprieties and exposed hidden money in church organizations.

But too often church leaders think the media — perhaps especially Catholic media — should be acting as public relations promoters for the church. Several bishops at the November meeting expressed a desire to “make sure people know about” the positive moves by church leadership to address sex abuse, as Newark, New Jersey, Cardinal Joseph Tobin put it. Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich also hoped that “word will get out there that we are on the side of the victims.”

Yes, media outlets need to tell the whole truth, the good news as well as the bad. But as professional journalists, we also have to respect news values in our coverage, and often that involves some sort of conflict. As I used to tell my journalism students that everyone getting along is nice, but it’s not news.

In his comments calling for transparency, Bishop Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City, Missouri, may have inadvertently promoted the work of journalists.

“We as a church need to use all the resources that are available to us, and in many instances that will be found in lay people, who are skilled and qualified in investigating these kinds of accusations and helping us evaluate the facts,” he said.

Exactly. The media are not the enemy. We are professionals, trying to do our jobs, in the service of the truth.

[Heidi Schlumpf is NCR executive editor. Her email address is hschlumpf@ncronline.org. Follow her on Twitter: @HeidiSchlumpf.]

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Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai denied bail after arrest on fraud charge – Global News

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Hong Kong media tycoon and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai was denied bail on Thursday on a charge of fraud related to the lease of a building that houses his Apple Daily, an anti-government tabloid.

Authorities have intensified a crackdown on key opposition figures in the Chinese-ruled city since Beijing circumvented the local legislature and imposed sweeping national security legislation on the global financial center on June 30.

Read more:
Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong sentenced to jail for 2019 anti-government protest

While Lai’s fraud charge did not fall under the national security law, it marks the latest crackdown on pro-democracy figures in the former British colony, which was handed back to Beijing in 1997 with a promise to maintain the free-wheeling city’s way of life for 50 years.

Critics say the law crushes freedoms in the global financial center, while supporters say it will bring stability after prolonged anti-China, pro-democracy protests last year.

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More anti-Beijing critics arrested under Hong Kong security law


More anti-Beijing critics arrested under Hong Kong security law – Aug 10, 2020

On Wednesday, one of Hong Kong’s most prominent democracy activists Joshua Wong was jailed for more than 13 months for his role in an unlawful anti-government rally in 2019, the toughest and most high-profile sentencing of an opposition figure this year.

Lai, 73, and two senior executives of his company Next Digital, were charged on Wednesday on suspicion of concealing from and falsely representing the use of their office to their landlord, a public corporation set up by the Hong Kong government.

The charge stated they were not using the office space as permitted under the lease between 2016 to 2020, and had sub-let a part of the premises, resulting in benefits to Apple Daily.

Read more:
Hong Kong leader says Chinese security law has been ‘effective in restoring stability’

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Reuters was not immediately able to reach Lai or his lawyers for comment. Next Digital suspended trading on Thursday morning, pending an announcement containing “inside information.”

“This is about dirtying Jimmy up. It’s Beijing’s policing brought to Hong Kong,” Mark Simon, an associate of Lai, told Reuters.

An ardent critic of Beijing, Lai has been detained since Wednesday after reporting to the police for his arrest in August. Prosecutors applied to adjourn the case until April next year, according to local media.

In August, Lai was arrested after about 200 police officers swooped on his offices. Hong Kong police later said they had arrested nine men and one woman for suspected offenses including “collusion with a foreign country/external elements to endanger national security, conspiracy to defraud” and others.


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Hong Kong police arrest nine people suspected of helping 12 activists held in China


Hong Kong police arrest nine people suspected of helping 12 activists held in China – Oct 10, 2020

Suspicion of colluding with foreign forces carries a maximum sentence of life in jail under the new security law.

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Lai has been a frequent visitor to Washington, where he has met officials, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to rally support for Hong Kong democracy, prompting Beijing to label him a “traitor.”

The security law was introduced on June 30 and punishes anything China considers subversion, secession, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.

(Reporting By Clare Jim, Tyrone Siu and Greg Torode; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

© 2020 Reuters

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